Arts festival: Grahamstown gets bigger

2008-07-13 00:00

The National Arts Festival CEO, Tony Lankester, announced last week that there had been marginal growth at this year’s Grahamstown Festival, despite the downturn in the economy.

“We came into this festival expecting a drop in attendance or, at best, to maintain our 2007 figures, but are delighted to report a marginal growth in overall attendance with 147 574 attendees at the various shows on offer,” Lankester said. Figures over the last five years show a continued growth trend.

Ticket sales showed an increase overall in monetary value of 5,48% and 2,09% in attendees.

Monetary sales on the main programme increased by 12,55% and the fringe saw an increase of 2,24%. Attendees on the main programme decreased by a marginal amount of 6,88%, which can be attributed to fewer performances (26 fewer than 2007). By contrast, attendance at fringe productions increased by 6,47%.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored and supported by the Eastern Cape government, Standard Bank, the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, the National Arts Council and the SABC. Research shows that the festival brings in about R50 million to the region each year, with many residents of Grahamstown entirely dependent on it.

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